Blog: First we mourn, then we act. A tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Published on September 19, 2020

Jeanne Massey

Dear friends,

Today we mourn the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a legal titan who championed the fundamental principle of equal justice under the law – so that all of us – regardless of background or circumstance could be part of “We the People” envisioned by the U.S. Constitution.

“Think back to 1787. Who were ‘We the People’?” Justice Ginsburg asked in a 2006 interview. “They certainly weren’t women . . . they surely weren’t people held in human bondage. The genius of our Constitution is that over now more than 200 sometimes turbulent years that ‘we’ has expanded and expanded.”

A staunch advocate for women’s and civil rights from the time she directed the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project in the 1970s to her famous dissents on the Supreme Court, she answered the question of when will there be enough women on the Supreme Court, with the quip: “When there are nine.”

Justice Ginsburg was not only a trailblazer in legal and academic circles but also a cultural icon and talisman for the next generation working to ensure equal opportunity for women. Her fame exploded with a “Notorious R.B.G.” Tumblr account that celebrated Ginsburg’s dissent in Shelby County vs. Holder which Ginsburg said “took the heart out of” the Voting Rights Act. She later became the star of the Oscar-nominated 2018 documentary, “RBG” and a central character in the 2018 biopic “On the Basis of Sex,” both of which charted her lifelong fight for women’s and minorities’ rights.

So many of us feel a profound sense of grief, not only by losing a legal trailblazer, but also by losing her voice in a government where many of us feel increasingly like we are not being heard or our views fully represented. While we need to grieve and mourn her passing, RBG would not want us to despair or sit wringing our hands, she would want us to honor her life in a manner consistent with her lifelong fight for justice.

She would want us to take action.

We at FairVote Minnesota are doing everything we can to expand the power of “We the People.” In her famous dissent in Shelby County vs. Holder in 2013, Justice Ginsburg proclaimed, “The grand aim of the [Voting Rights] Act is to secure to all in our polity equal citizenship stature, a voice in our democracy undiluted by race.”

We will continue our work for a more responsive and representative government — so that we all have a “voice in our democracy.” We will do this through improving our electoral system to give voters more choice and more power over their democracy, and Ranked Choice Voting can help get us there. In fact, Justice Ginsburg’s passing makes our work even more urgent.

Join us in honoring Justice Ginsburg by acting to secure a better democracy for all. Three things you can do right now to help move RCV forward in Minnesota:

  1. Vote early. You can find pro-RCV candidates here. If you live in Bloomington or Minnetonka, vote YES for RCV — and tell all your friends in these two cities to vote YES!
  2. Join our phone bank or text banks to help Bloomington and Minnetonka and pro-RCV candidates over the finish line! Click here to volunteer.
  3. Do not lose hope, join us in this fight to save our democracy with a donation.

Thank you for helping us to honor Justice Ginsburg.



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